A three-day high-level meeting, hosted and financially supported by Germany, was concluded in Munich on 15 February 2018, marking a milestone in preparing for and responding to the ever more complex and demanding health emergencies of our times.
Over 150 representatives from 43 countries, all of which are signatories of the International Health Regulations (IHR), and international organisations debated effective ways to accelerate the implementation of the IHR as a means to better equip countries to deal with emergencies. In particular, they discussed synergies among three major areas, these being IHR core capacities, health systems and public health functions, and antimicrobial resistance (AMR).
While responsive health systems are an integral part of IHR implementation, efforts to strengthen the IHR core capacities also contribute significantly to improving health systems’ resilience, in a virtuous circle. At the same time, addressing AMR is a priority, given that the increase in resistant bacteria can make disease outbreaks more difficult to control and can increase the burden on health systems.
The cross linkages between IHR, health systems and public health functions are central to the European Region’s first action plan on emergency preparedness and response, which was initiated in Munich. The five-year European Action Plan to Improve Public Health Preparedness and Response (2018-2023) draws on the draft global strategic plan and is based on three pillars:
- preparedness: building, maintaining and strengthening IHR core capacities
- response: enhancing event management according to IHR requirements
- monitoring and evaluation: measuring progress and promoting accountability on IHR implementation
Based on countries’ input gathered in Munich, WHO/Europe will undertake additional consultations to further shape the regional action plan, which will be presented to member states at the 68th session of the WHO Regional Committee for Europe in September 2018.
Source: WHO Regional Office for Europe, 20 February 2018